Waterbury, Conn.- As heating costs continue to rise this winter and the worldwide clean energy movement gains momentum, the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG) is committed to promoting solar development on a regional level. NVCOG launched a series of webpages dedicated to promoting the development of solar energy in its 19-town region.
This online hub is the fruit of a partnership with SolSmart, a Department of Energy funded and nationally recognized program that works with municipalities and regional organizations to remove barriers to solar growth. NVCOG is currently in pursuit of Silver Certification status, which it plans to achieve in 2023.
The new webpages provide municipal staff as well as residents and developers with resources needed to develop solar projects. The virtual toolkit includes a savings calculator, consumer protection guides, information on financial incentives, and links to a search function for local installers. To understand how local permitting works in each municipality, the webpage provides contact information for town departments and links to permits. Training videos for building and land use staff will become available in the spring of 2022.
“As a participant in the SolSmart program, NVCOG is aiming to decrease the soft costs of solar energy development and expand solar opportunities, including through this new online solar information hub,” said Danny Falk, Program Manager with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and the SolSmart program. “Solar energy growth at the local level can result in increased economic development, increased property tax income, and a reduction of the environmental impacts of fossil fuels.”
“Our webpages put decisions-making tools and step-by-step guides into the hands of residents, as well as training materials into the hands of municipal staff,” said NVCOG Regional Environmental Planner Christine O’Neill. “We want to ensure that any resident or developer interested in a solar project doesn’t have superfluous hoops to jump through.”
NVCOG’s partnership with SolSmart is just one aspect of its multipronged approach to promoting clean energy. The 2022-2032 Regional Plan of Conservation and Development is slated to include a section on renewable energy goals, while an upcoming sustainability guide will feature targeted strategies on energy efficiency and conservation for municipalities.
NVCOG recognizes the benefits that solar projects would provide to the region. Executive Director Rick Dunne welcomes towns, developers, and residents to check out these resources. “As residents in our region join the over 47,000 homes across the state that have chosen solar, municipal offices are seeing an increased number of solar applications each year,” said NVCOG Executive Director Rick Dunne. “We want to give our towns the tools and training to be knowledgeable about this important topic and help move our state to a renewable, distributed generation model for supplying our power needs.”
Distributed generation solar projects contribute to energy independence, reliable power, fewer adverse environmental impacts, and ultimately lower electric bills.
Visit NVCOG’s solar hub at: https://nvcogct.gov/solar